During the fall, when I’m using a lot of pumpkin in my baking, I’m always looking for new pumpkin recipes to use up leftover pumpkin that I might have sitting around in my refrigerator. This Pumpkin Granola is definitely worth making even if you don’t have leftover pumpkin that needs to be used up because it is so tasty, but you have no excuse not to make it if you have a half-used can of pumpkin puree waiting to be stirred into something.
This granola recipe is a bit unusual in that it only contains a very small amount of added fat, just a tablespoon of oil. The rest of the moisture in this recipe comes from the pumpkin puree itself, which binds all the granola components together. You might think that this would result in a soggy granola, but it bakes up to be perfectly crisp in the oven, just as you would want it to! The granola is packed with rolled oats, pumpkin pie spices, sugar and maple syrup. It also has generous quantities of both slivered almonds and toasted pumpkin seeds, which add a great texture to the granola. You can use untoasted nuts in the granola, since they will toast in the oven, however toasted nuts can also be used and they should hold up to the additional baking time without a problem.
I usually use puffed rice cereals in my granolas to lighten them up and give them a bit more crunch, however I opted to use a chocolate cereal in this batch of granola. Specifically, I used Count Chocula cereal, which is a cocoa flavored seasonal cereal that you can find around Halloween. It has a great texture and flavor (though I remove all the little marshmallows that come in it), and the chocolate adds a little complexity to the granola. If you don’t have Count Chocula available, you can use something like chocolate rice krispy cereal or simply use plain puffed rice cereal and you will still get a delicious granola.
This granola has a nice blend of flavors and is perfect for breakfast or a snack anytime during the fall. It keeps very well in an airtight container, so you can also consider packing it up as a homemade gift for pumpkin-loving friends and family members!
3 1/2 cups rolled oats
1 1/2 cups chocolate puffed rice cereal (such as Count Chocula or Cocoa Krispies)
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground pumpkin pie spice
3/4 tsp salt
3/4 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup pumpkin puree
1/4 cup real maple syrup (pref. Grade B)
1 tbsp vegetable oil
1 tsp vanilla extract
3/4 cup slivered almonds
3/4 cup pumpkin seeds
Preheat the oven to 325F and line a large baking sheet (or two smaller sheets) with parchment paper.
In a large bowl, combine oats, cereal, and spices. In a medium bowl, whisk together sugar, pumpkin puree, maple syrup, vegetable oil and vanilla. Pour wet ingredients into dry ingredients along with nuts and pumpkin seeds and stir to combine. Spread on prepared baking sheet(s) in an even layer.
Bake for 30 minutes, then turn over the granola carefully using a large wide spatula, and bake for additional 10-15 minutes, until crisp and golden. Depending on the size of your baking sheet, the center might not be fully dried if your granola layer is thick, so if necessary remove the edges of the cooked granola to a cooling rack and let the rest cook for another 10 minutes until done.
Cool on pan or on a wire rack.
Break granola up and transfer to an airtight container for storage.
Makes about 6-8 servings.